Turkish Hijacker Is Seeking Asylum

The man is seeking asylum because he fears persecution after his conversion to Christianity and wanted Pope Benedict XVI's protection.


As the hijacking ended, Ekinci "walked through the middle of the business class and said, 'I apologize to all of you ... Good night,'" a Turkish passenger, Ergun Erkoseoglu, said upon returning to Istanbul.

Anatolia reported that Ekinci had claimed on an Internet posting that he had sent a letter to Benedict in August, asking the pope to help him avoid military service in Turkey. "I am a Christian and I never want to serve in a Muslim army," Anatolia quoted Ekinci as writing.

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Associated Press writers Selcan Hacaoglu in Ankara, Turkey, and Frances D'Emilio in Rome contributed to this report.


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